Monday, October 26th, 2009

Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne & Swizz Beatz – I Can Transform Ya

Fresh off of shitting on Jim and Pam’s wedding, it’s Inevitable Lil Wayne Collaboration time…


Spencer Ackerman: Goddamn it! I wanted so badly to hate this on general principle — Chris Brown transforms your sister’s face, etc. — but it’s not actually bad. You bring in Swizz when you need a hit, and he comes prepared with his schoolyard/drumline beats, complete with out-of-nowhere whistles and sudden blasts of guitar, and Wayne is his usually charismatic self. Chris Brown sing-raps about how he can buy all this stuff for his girls, but of course it sounds like hush money. Anyway: not bad.

Martin Kavka: I usually hate tracks on which the lead artist seems to be a guest at his own party, but given that this is Chris Brown, I don’t really want him to be present here. Indeed, I just want to wallow in the fuzz of this track for weeks; it’s the butch equivalent of a feather boa.

Martin Skidmore: I intended to try to review this just as a single, without bringing what he did to Rihanna into it — but then the line “See potential in ya, let me mould that” decoded in my head to “I can rearrange your face” and the good intention was lost. I suspect it’s not at all a bad record, really.

Alfred Soto: Biographical criticism bores me, but listening to these two fools use robot voices to put over a sentiment like turning a “good girl to a freak,” I wanted the prosecution to subpoena me as a hostile witness.

Ian Mathers: Maybe I’d have an easier time getting over my knee-jerk hatred of Chris Brown (and just as, for example, Chinatown is no defense for Roman Polanski, Polanski’s life doesn’t damn Chinatown) if the transformation here seemed to be anything rather than “I am going to shower you with material goods and I expect you to become a freak in return.” If outright prostitution was more socially acceptable, do you think these dudes would ever bother with ‘love’ songs?

Michaelangelo Matos: Pretend this is someone else: not terribly difficult given that Brown’s little PR disaster is the closest he’s ever come to evincing much personality in the first place. What is there to hear? Sci-fi R&B that basically rides on Wayne’s middling contributions; Brown himself slides off the soundscape like water off stainless steel, though it’s not as if there’s much to grab onto even for people far more talented than he is. So no, it isn’t offensively terrible. What a step up.

Al Shipley: The beat and the hook both come off like a dramatic downgrade of Beyonce’s “Upgrade You.” What really makes this the pits, though, is Wayne, who’s had a better year for guest verses than most will give him credit for, but drops some serious first-take wackness here. Sticking to the song’s topic for a whole verse has never been his specialty, but suddenly he’s all honed in but short on synonyms, and ends up using the word “transform” 10 times in the space of 20 bars. Every time I hear this on the radio I shake my first at the DJs that are still giving the Mechanical Dummy mechanical royalties.

Pete Baran: Chris Brown is in mood to distract us. And what’s the best way of doing that? Remind us of the dumbest movie of the year. But unfortunately in this version of Revenge of the Fallen, the fallen has fallen too far to be redeemed by a few of Swizz Beatz’s swish beats. Up to halfway I was almost in a forgiving mood, until one of them explains that he can “transform ya like a Transformer”. With wordplay like that, they aren’t transforming anything yet.

John Seroff: When last we had CB on the Jukebox, I made a stink about Brown’s tepid steps back into the pop arena with slimy ballads when his best work has always been more screwball, summery dance fare. A day late and wildly overdressed, here comes the expensive, bloodless “Transform Ya”, a genderswitch ‘Upgrade U’ fronting enough big budget stars, special effects and meaningless noise that it might as well come prefaced “Michael Bay Presents”. “Transform” is a step in a better direction than the charmless saccharine of “Changed Man”, but while the stream of Swizz’s getcha-Voltron-up whirrs and clangs engage endearingly enough at first, it doesn’t take long for them to grate. Ironically, Brown’s vocals are the strongest and most enjoyable part of this increasingly tedious exercise, but Chris is so drowned out by the endless barks, whistles and KITT-heavy breathing that he’s simply outgunned. It’s not a bad track, just needlessly excessive.

Anthony Miccio: Swizz Beatz’s music has a nasty kick once you get acclimated to the Michael Bay sound design. But Lil Wayne and Chris Brown’s lyrics are nothing but snide pimp promises that would still be distasteful even in a pop-culture vacuum.

Rodney J. Greene: While an obvious improvement upon the pitiful whimpering of “Changed Man,” I’m not sure this is the look the Terror of Tappahannock needed. Besides being regrettably aggressive, it sounds like a forward-looking boy band single from 2001.

2 Responses to “Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne & Swizz Beatz – I Can Transform Ya”

  1. loool @ “the Terror of Tappahannock”

    i’m disappointed in y’all, this clunker isn’t even good by Swizz standards

  2. […] Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz – I Can Transform Ya […]